Sunday, March 22, 2015

Wife of Thomas Patterson Was Definitely a Harrison

March 17, 2015 Initial Report

Those of us who descend from John Patterson and Margaret Black know that John's father was Thomas Patterson. Several years ago, Harald Reksten found a book that had published some time back that dealt with various church records from the Shenandoah Valley of VA in the mid 1700's. In that book, it showed that our Thomas Patterson married in 1761, but the ink was very faded when this author looked over the original records. According to him, he thought the bride was Margaret Harrison.

Harald has viewed the microfilm of this, again a few years ago, and that part of the page where Thomas Patterson's marriage record was recorded, the ink was too faded to even show up on the microfilm.

Harald tracked down where the Presbyterian Church Archives are now stored. It had moved a few times over recent years. Currently they are stored at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, GA, which happens to be where I was born. Not the seminary, of course..... but Decatur, Ga.

These records are only available to the public for viewing on Fridays, and by appt only. I have an appt for Friday this week to view the original records from 1761. I don't hold much hope (if any) to even see anything on this paper, but I'm going to make sure. I hope to be able to corroborate the author's interpretations from 15 or 20 years ago when he viewed it. If I cannot, I guess his interpretation is better than nothing.... which is precisely what we had before this. The author (Richard K. MacMaster) transcribed the pastor's (Alexander Miller) records as follows:

Married in 1761, 10br. 24th (WP: December 24, 1761), Thos. Peterson and Margt (Harrison?)

All of the Patterson records are spelled Peterson, and all of the Cravens records are spelled Crevens, by the way.

Wish me luck....

Wes Patterson, g-g-g-g-g-grandson of Thomas Patterson and Margaret ?Harrison.

March 21, 2015 Follow Up Report

I consider today's visit to the Presbyterian Church Archives in Decatur, Ga a total success. I was not expecting to see anything in that lower right corner of the list of marriages from 1761. But I was very pleasantly surprised. At first, I had to find it on the microfilm (their requirements). Even there, I could see a faint record of it, more so than on past digital images of the microfilm record. 

But once I was able to view the original book that contained the records, there was absolutely no doubt in my mind that Thomas Patterson married Margaret Harrison. It's evident there are 8 letters in the last name, so it wasn't a Harris or Herron or Herring, or some other "H" name that was common in Augusta Co VA at that time. 

It was clear to me that it begins with "Harr" and that it ends with "son" and there was another letter between those pieces. So either "Harrison" or "Harreson". Both spellings were employed by Rev. Alexander Miller at other times in this same ledger for other individuals. 

It clearly said "10br 24th" and "Thos. Peterson" and "Margt. Harrison" or "Margt. Harreson". And by way of reminder, all Pattersons recorded by Miller were spelled "Peterson", just as all Cravens were spelled "Crevens". 

This means that John Patterson (m. Margaret Black) was the son of Thomas Patterson and Margaret Harrison, and that he descended from the Harrison family of Settlers by the Long Grey Trail fame. The big question is this... who was Margaret Harrison's father? It was most likely Samuel Harrison, son of Isaiah Harrison Sr. But there certainly seems to be a connection to the Thomas and Nathaniel Harrison of York Co SC, as more than likely, they were brothers of Margaret Harrison Patterson. 

At any rate, I just wanted to share the results of my trip to the archives today. If anyone has any questions, feel free to fire away. Thanks.


March 21, 2015 Second Follow Up Report

After studying the digital images I took yesterday, I can now make out the handwriting better, particularly the middle part where I wasn't sure if it was an "i" or an "e".... What was throwing me off a bit turn out to actually be, in my interpretation, an "i" plus another "s" in the old style.... In other words, 9 letters total. Harrisson, with a double "s" not just one "s". So the loop I was seeing was not an "e" in the middle, but in fact an "i" plus the looped "s". 

Here are four (4) images which compare the original book versus the microfilm version. You'll see how it shows up better on the original. 

Then the other image is closer up of the original version, but keep in mind, it showed up much better to the naked eye than this digital image shows. Nonetheless, this image is much better than what we've had in the past.


Original: Entire Page

Original: Close Up

Microfilm: Entire Page

Microfilm: Close Up

March 9, 2017 Update

I no longer lean toward the theory that Margaret Harrison, wife of Thomas Patterson, was the daughter of Joseph Harrison. That theory was mainly due to the extensive collaboration of the primary families (Harrison, Cravens, Patterson, Black, Ponder) who moved to Clarks Fork in York Co, SC in the 1760's, and their connections to the Joseph Harrison, Samuel Stewart, Jeremiah Harrison families, all of whom were involved in Joseph Harrison's estate vendue in 1748 in VA (Augusta Co., near Harrisonburg). The connections of these families in DE and VA were there, but they diverged at that point. 

The Joseph Harrison and Samuel Stewart clans moved to the Yadkin Valley of NC about 1748, while other Harrisons (Samuel Harrison - brother of Joseph), and the Cravens, Pattersons, Blacks, and Ponders moved to York Co SC later in the 1750's and early 1760's. Samuel Harrison has never been identified in York Co SC, per se. He appears to have been found further south in the state, however. 

In recent months I have learned of another possible branch of the Isaiah Harrison clan which needs to be considered as a possibility for the branch my Margaret Harrison (Patterson) descends from. That would involve a third "John Harrison", a man who left Augusta Co., VA in 1765, and may have been a son of Old Gideon Harrison (1694-1729), son of Isaiah. That would make this latter John, a nephew to the afore-mentioned Joseph and Samuel Harrison. This last statement is assuming that Samuel Harrison was a son of Isaiah and his second wife Abigail Smith - as claimed by J. Houston Harrison in his book Settlers by the Long Grey Trail. While that may be true, I am not 100% convinced that Samuel was a son of Isaiah. It is possible he was a grandson of Isaiah by one of his daughters - say Elizabeth, perhaps. More research needed on this question.

See for more details.

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